I constantly think of phrases or quotes that have impacts in my life, when doing my life manifesto or weekly journals, I am always looking for inspiration on these timeless phrases that can so well summarize our thoughts and feelings at any given time.
Over time, this phrase has remained constant in my thoughts, every time I read it, every time I write it, every time I think about it, I feel as if the phrase is calling me, touching my soul, making me reflect on my life, on my journey.
If I think about my life, I can believe that in its natural state, I am lost. Always and simply lost. Maybe because I was born in another country and not having my family or friends close has always made me feel that I walk with my eyes closed. It may be that sincerely reflecting, I can admit that ever so often I wonder how I can be a better wife. It may be that sometimes I am afraid to think that as a mother I can do more, listen more, learn more, give more. Or as an engineer, my career has continued but there are many moments of doubt on how to set goals, and how to pursue them, without putting my family in second place.
As you can see, Not all those who wander are lost ”gives me comfort. Comfort that although I feel that I am walking in the dark while I try to do my best in every facet of my life, feeling that I am lost is part of the journey. Having doubt is part of the solution. Knowing that I am scared, makes me grateful.
Not all those who wander are lost gives me hope that in those moments when I don’t know where I came from, nor where I am going, much less where I am going, I can focus on enjoying my now, what I have today, what I am today. Holding my husband’s hand, hugging my children, talking with my family, being kind to myself I am sure I will continue to feel lost through the wonders of my path, through the wonders of my life.
The other day my cousin sent me a photo unexpectedly. I kept looking at the picture for a while, trying hard to recognize the place. I was so surprised when I finally recognized it! It was the beach house we use to go when we were younger when we were kids, it was our vacation spot, it was our Adventureland. What I could have remembered as a beautiful place, with very comfortable beach chalets, and a gigantic pool was nothing more than small cabins with a grill and plastic chairs in the front porch, and a small pool that certainly had to be overcrowded when we would swim and play in it.
In those little cabins, I had created memories that are surrounded by happiness and pure joy, encapsulating that moment in time when fun was the main driving force of my days. I could clearly remember the happiness of my parents. The happiness of my cousins and friends. The happiness of freedom. The happiness of not knowing that life hits hard and takes away your loved ones. The happiness that only the innocence of youth can make us feel.
Now, seeing that picture, trying to piece together the puzzle of my broken memory I realize that it is impossible. That beautiful beach, with its very comfortable chalets and its gigantic swimming pool, will be forever engraved on me, and cannot be reconciled with the photos of reality.
Speaking with my cousin of those times, almost 27 years ago, we felt nostalgic for the innocence we lost over the years, we felt sad when we remember the people we lost since then. It was painful to realize that so much time has passed. That we grew old.
I have always believed that the purpose of remembering is to relive again. And when talking to my cousin about those years, we felt the urgency to recognize that our children now have the opportunity to experience the happiness of innocence. That it is not the beauty of the place, nor the spectacular hotel, nor the giant pool what will remain in their memories … but our company, our laughter, the moments with their friends, the talks in the sand next to a campfire … those will be their memories and no picture will match it and the time will not corrupt it either.
Last Friday night we went to bed a bit late since we had friends over for dinner. I cooked the appetizers, side dishes, and dessert, while our friends did the most tastefully, tender, and juicy Brisket ever. We laughed, and talked, and laughed some more. As I and my husband went to bed, although we were tired, we both acknowledged how lucky and thankful we feel for having great friends in our lives.
Sunday was the Super Bowl and my family has been anticipated the big game and I knew it was a special moment for them, so although I had a gazillion things to cook and prep for the week, I made the effort to cook them Chicken Wings and Nachos which they devoured while watching the game. After we put the kids to bed and as I am in the kitchen finishing cleaning up, my younger son calls me in to tell me that he really appreciates all I do for them and that the wings were amazing and the Nachos were the best he ever had and that he is so thankful for having me as a mom… I smiled, kissed him and told him the lucky one was me.
When we give the best to our families, and to our loved ones, and to ourselves, we do reach a level of satisfaction in our lives. At the end of the day, comes the amazing feeling that you are doing your best to stir your family in a happy direction, and when that gets recognized, and you are thanked for it… well, we are closer to the destination.
My mother has been a constant inspiration in my life. She is kind, compassionate, realistic, assertive, composed and self-assured. She is, by all I believe in, the wiser person I know. The use of “common sense” has always been her go-to-solution to all and every problem or situation and it is my goal to pass the “common sense” approach to my kids.
She has gone through the loss of her son, which is a pain that as I have learned, never goes away. She has worked hard “38 consecutive years” as she says it, climbing up the professional ladder without holding back, always with loyalty, professionalism, honesty, and integrity. She has been, is and will be my idol. My go-to-person when self-doubt, fear, pessimism, and doubt snicks in my heart.
Through the years, I have seen her suffer, adapt, change, dream, conquering happiness and peace, learning over and over to enjoy life, be loving and caring (and patient) to my dad, and be 100% available to my needs and wants.
After going through my own self-improvement program and in my pursuit to understand my life purpose, I have come to realize that she is not perfect, however, that realization just made me love her more since although she has her own challenging shortcomings, she has managed to be stronger than anyone I know. She has taught me life lessons that today I am sharing with you:
Balance it out. My mother would always tell me to balance it out. Put the positive on one side and the negative on the other and make decisions based on the outcome. From professional decisions, to love, to friendship, to education, it can all be put in the balance and decisions are made knowing the positives and negatives of each possibility.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes: Before judging try your best to put yourself in their shoes. We don’t know what that person has gone through, we don’t know the whole story. Kindness and compassion should be your first impressions instead of baseless judgment.
Be strong. My mother is a stoic person. She is the embodiment of what a strong mind and a generous heart and profound faith can do together. Even when I have gone through my good share of very low moments she has been compassionate but very clear… you are strong, you are mighty, you are a force, you are what you need to be to overcome anything.
Got to be humble. We are no better than the person next to us. What we own and what we do for a living says nothing about who we are. Be humble and treat everyone with kindness and compassion. Always smile, always shake hands, always exchange kind words, treat everyone (including those that are clearly making the statement that they have more than you) with respect and kindness.
Honesty goes a long way. She always believes she was sufficiently smart to get to where she was professionally when she retired, however, she was always very honest when she would say that along the way she met people far more qualified than her, but that it was her honesty and integrity that made her a solid candidate for every promotion she accomplished while working. If you don’t have integrity in the workplace, people will see through it. You can always be trained in the job, but integrity is what you bring with you.
At any time of my day, during a good moment or a low moment, I remember my mom and imagine how she would react, or what would she chose, or how she would handle the situation I am in, and by following her example, I have been able to move forward and in the positive direction. I am grateful to her. I am grateful for her heart and her soul. I am grateful for her love. I am grateful for her lessons.